General Motors CEO Mary Barra and President Dan Ammann travel to Thailand to watch the 1 millionth vehicle – a Chevrolet Trailblazer – come off the line at the automaker’s Rayong assembly plant.

Operations at Rayong, 112 miles (180 km) southeast of Bangkok, began in 2000, and Barra says the 1 million-unit milestone demonstrates why Thailand is so important to GM’s growth in Southeast Asia.

“(It) helps reinforce our commitment to continually strengthen our investment in this facility,” she says in a statement.

Ammann says the Rayong plant is an important member of GM’s regional and global manufacturing operation.

“It also is a key component of our consumer-centric and market-driven strategy for growing our product lineup and Chevrolet brand in the region,” he says.

The Rayong facility employs 4,300 workers and is one of five plants GM built outside North America in the late 1990s. It incorporates the automaker’s Global Manufacturing System strategy, a companywide production system based on the principles of lean manufacturing.

The plant has the ability to build different models and variants on the same line. It exported a record 44,000 vehicles last year to 77 countries.

Barra and Ammann also visit GM Thailand’s powertrain plant, which is building second-generation 4-cyl. Duramax turbodiesels and is GM’s only diesel-engine plant in the region. It also is the first GM powertrain facility in the world to manufacture the Duramax 4-cyl.